Updated: Sep 5
Plantar fasciitis is a common problem causing pain in the foot or heel, usually worse in the morning when stepping out of bed. This condition is often caused by a weakness in the muscles of the lower leg due to muscle imbalances caused by physical stress, overtraining, too much standing, stress or a poor diet.
Conventional treatment is very often unsuccessful and the "solution" is counterintuitive. Drugs, cortisone injections, and orthotics provide only a temporary bandaid which may end up making the pain worse in the long run. In order to successfully treat plantar fasciitis, we have to treat the root of the problem instead of just masking the pain.
You may notice that what you may have been told is a solution to plantar fasciitis is actually the problem. Check out the top 9 ways I have successfully treated many patients with this condition using the following natural and effective methods.
1) GET ACUPUNCTURE. Of course I am going to recommend acupuncture because I am an Acupuncture physician, but it really WORKS!! Acupuncture is very successful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis because it address the root cause of the pain. Acupuncture can help release muscle tension in the leg muscles, reduce inflammation, and provide fast pain relief. Although pain relief may be immediate, a series of 6-12 treatments is required to ensure full resolution.
2) AVOID STRETCHING. While stretching is very helpful for many conditions, this is one that it is not. Plantar fasciitis is caused by weak, tight and/or overstretched calf muscles, so doing more stretching can further exacerbate the problem. Stretching causes the muscle fibers to elongate which can cause further pulling of the plantar fascia and delay healing.
3) RELEASE TRIGGER POINTS. With plantar fasciitis, you will often notice trigger points or tender points in the calf muscle below the back of the knee, arch of the foot and behind the shin bone on the inside part of the lower leg. Apply pressure to these points with your thumb or by rolling over a tennis ball. Use a wooden foot roller or rolling pin to work out trigger points at the arch of the foot and break up adhesions. Work on these trigger points for 2-5 minutes at a time.
4) DO FOOT STRENGTHENING EXERCISES. Weakness of the muscles of the feet can cause plantar fasciitis so it is important to strengthen these muslces. Place a towel on the ground and practice scrunching it up using your toes, squeezing to strengthen the plantar fascia.
5) WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES. Avoid shoes that are overly supportive, have high heels, or really thin or unflexible shoes. The more you wear these types of shoes, the weaker your feet become. Wear flat, comfortable shoes with the lowest heel possible. Although a little pricey, these shoes are highly recommended and well worth the investment.
6) GO BAREFOOT WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Our bodies are designed to walk barefoot. Wearing shoes all the time causes certain muscles in our feet to weaken. Walking barefoot helps to strengthen the muscles in your feet, and resolve the underlying problem causing plantar fasciitis.
7) AVOID ORTHOTICS. Many people spend lots of money on orthotics only to end up in more pain in the long run. Orthotics may temporary make your feet feel better but they only support the dysfunction and imbalance in your lower leg muscles instead of fixing the problem. The more you wear orthotics, the more you weaken your foot muscles, which may lead to further problems in the knees and back.
8) TAKE MAGNESIUM, B5 & FISH OIL. Magnesium will help to relax your muscles and ease cramping and pain. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) helps to heal the plantar fascia and promote muscle relaxation. The omega 3's in fish oil can help to heal the body and decrease inflammation. Ask about our physician-grade supplements to get all these nutrients.
9) SOAK YOUR FEET. Tibetan herbal foot soaks and epsom salt foot soaks are very effective in relieving plantar fasciitis pain by improving your blood circulation through your feet, legs and your entire body. Soak feet for 30 minutes per day for a total of 10-20 treatments.